If you’re a fan of Life of Pi, then you’ll love this. The Hundred-Foot Journey revolves around an uprooted Indian family, who decide to set up an Indian restaurant across the road from a Michelin star fancy French restaurant – 100 feet, to be exact. The two restaurants battle it out and compete with each other bitterly, but will they eventually find peace and harmony after a horrible event befalls one of them?
The family move from Mumbai to Europe after their restaurant is fire-bombed in a politically motivated attack. The second son has been learning to cook, being taught by his mother, who is tragically killed in the attack. The devastated family pack their bags and move to London, but find it a rubbish place to prepare food, as the weather is so bad! So, they drive around Europe, and accidentally stumble upon a beautiful, rural French village. On the outskirts, there’s a beat up, abandoned restaurant that the father of the family takes an interest in, and he buys it in spite of the family’s doubts. Here begins the ferocious battle between them and Helen Mirren’s haute cuisine restaurant across the road.
There are many ongoing themes in this film – namely, ethnic conflict and racism, which the Indian family receive constantly from hostile villagers. The difficult relationship between Helen Mirren’s character and the family persists, but they have one thing in common – a love of food. Just because Indian food is different to French food, it doesn’t mean it’s any less good, though it takes time to convince the locals of this! Food brings these people together, and it shows just how important the enjoyment of food actually is for many people. I’ve long been saying this, and I’m glad the film proves my point.
There’s also the question of what ‘home’ is to the displaced family. The Mumbai restaurant was it, but when that was destroyed, the search for a new one made them question what they wanted from a home. In the end, their father is right – home is wherever the family is. Be it in London, rural France or India, as long as the family is together, there will always be ‘home’.
Provincial France looks pretty idyllic in this film. In keeping with the spirit of this film - it looks good enough to eat! You’ll learn a little about French cuisine and why it is important there, as well as learning about the experiences of immigrants trying to make a new life. The film is eye opening in more ways than one.
The film has some really big names backing it – it was produced by both Stephen Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey, but the director is somebody else. Funnily enough, it’s Lasse Hallström, the guy who directed many of ABBA’s music videos! More recently, he directed Dear John and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. Once you are aware of, you can definitely see his influence on the film.
You’re also introduced to some of India’s biggest film stars. Actors like Om Puri (East is East) and Juhi Chawla have appeared in some of Bollywood’s biggest productions, as well as some English language films. With music by A.R. Rahman, who also did Slumdog Billionaire, perhaps you’ll be inspired to delve into Indian cinema and watch some Bollywood classics!
Image from: http://www.degroenemeisjes.nl/tag/the-hundred-foot-journey